On Saturday, thousands of Jews and Arabs gathered together in Tel Aviv to march against racism and house demolitions that are taking place in Umm al-Hiran and Kalansua, and also to protest against future demolitions which are currently being planned.
Those who organized the event in Tel Aviv have said that 5,000 Jews and Arabs participated together in the march, which began around the King George and Allenby Street intersection and stopped in Dizengoff Square, as Haartetz reported. A large number of both Jewish and Arab organizations also attended the Tel Aviv march. Organizers have decided that Jews and Arabs have now reached a completely new stage with their civil struggles.
Speeches at the Tel Aviv rally were given in both Hebrew and Arabic and marchers everywhere were seen waving Israeli and Palestinian flags.
As Yakub Abu al-Kiyan had been killed in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran last month during the demolition of unrecognized homes in Negev, his wife, Amal Abu Sa’ad, appeared at the march in Tel Aviv and addressed both Jews and Arabs alike. She made a point of describing how Jews and Arabs want to live together in peace, as evidenced by the large crowd of people who had gathered in Tel Aviv.
“It is important to me to stand here and speak to you and pass on the message to the prime minister and ministers: Despite your wild incitement, the racism and discrimination in legislation, enforcement, infrastructure and government services. You will not succeed in dividing between the country’s citizens. All of you, who are standing here today, you are proof that Jews and Arabs can and want to live together and with equality.”
Amal Abu Sa’ad also said in her speech that an independent commission should be set up to investigate what happened during the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran, where her husband was killed.
Thousands and thousands march through Tel Aviv chanting, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!” pic.twitter.com/YcNACVMBEu
— Noah Efron (@noahjefron) February 4, 2017
The Joint List head, MK Ayman Odeh, spoke at the Tel Aviv march in front of thousands of Jews and Arabs, and asked if there could be some sort of recognition of villages which are currently unrecognized.
“Thousands of people have come here today, Arabs and Jews, from all over the country to cry out against the government attack on the Arab population and to call for equality, recognition of the unrecognized villages, and in a demand to establish an official state commission of inquiry to examine all the events surrounding the brutal evacuation of Umm al-Hiran.”
MK Dov Khenin, also with the Joint List, has described how the Tel Aviv march showed that there was hope to be found, even in the current environment of hatred.
“The thousands who demonstrated this evening in Tel Aviv are sounding a voice of hope and sanity, facing a government that chooses incitement and hatred. We know that incitement is the last refuge of those who have failed.”
From the start of the formation of the Joint List, numerous politicians who are part of the Arab community are able to see that if they keep communication open and continue building dialogue, that cooperation with democratic forces present in Israeli society can only be helpful.
The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee is also planning to work on further appeals not only to the public opinion of international communities, but also to Israeli communities as well. With this most recent march in Tel Aviv with both Jews and Arabs present, there is thought to be more hope since people are coming together.
What do you think about Saturday’s march in Tel Aviv which saw Jewish and Arab communities side by side?
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]